The Essence of Holistic Homeschooling

Exploring and building an understanding of the essence of holistic homeschooling can help you stay inspired and focused. When you focus on what homeschooling means to you, at the core, you’ll feel freer to meet your children’s needs rather than being hindered by all the “shoulds” of outside expectations.

In this episode of the Art of Homeschooling Podcast, I’ll share with you three principles of holistic homeschooling from my guide, Homeschool Simplicity.

Whether you’ve purchased a curriculum package or are crafting your own, you can begin with these principles as a foundation. Understanding the essence of holistic homeschooling will allow you to feel grounded as a teacher and leader in your homeschool.

During my years of homeschooling, I kept a list of these principles front of mind, often somewhere where I could see the list and be reminded day to day. You may want to try this, too!

The Essence of Holistic Homeschooling

My approach to education is based on the work of Rudolf Steiner and the Waldorf movement. But I want to be clear that I I find the wisdom of Waldorf very customizable and compatible with other educational approaches. 

There is a universality in these principles that will help you bring a holistic educational experience to your children no matter what approach or approaches you choose. Because above all, I want to encourage you as a homeschooling parent to look at your child or children and bring them what they need.

So today, as we explore three of these principles, I encourage you to create a list of your own to guide you on your journey. Let’s dive in!


We all want our children to develop a sense of reverence for the world and the people in their lives. The way to do this is by immersing them in beauty as well as by experiencing the awe and wonder.

When we infuse reverence into all we do, this sense can grow in our children.

Exploring nature, painting, drawing, reading, or having conversations can all be done with a sense of reverence and respect. This can then form a strong foundation for learning about the world whether you’re studying history or science or literature.

Reverence is a beautiful starting point.

Block Learning

So often as a homeschooler, I’ve been surprised at how block learning helps with the teaching and learning. It allows us to bring a topic and then let it rest, to come back to it later. To start fresh. It allows us to dive more deeply into ONE subject at a time. 

There’s so much current research that supports holistic education and Waldorf in particular. 

Many brick-and-mortar schools have begun using this approach, too. Much of the research on block learning in particular focuses on high school. A Boston University study in 2020 found that block scheduling improved student performance, reduced teacher and student stress, and improved relationships. 

In English Language Arts education, there’s a movement toward knowledge-rich content and spending more time on a subject in order to help students build their knowledge about the world. This in turn helps improve learning outcomes.

“Knowledge-rich programs spend considerably more time
(from three to eight weeks per topic) and dive deeply into core texts, while other curricula prioritize a focus on isolated skills or standards and only touch on
texts and topics as their vehicle for doing so.”

~the knowledge matter campaign

This is similar to a mantra that I often share with homeschoolers: “go deep, not wide.” 

The Experience Before the Explanation

This principle of holistic education improved my teaching more than anything else.

Instead of giving a lecture or explanation, THEN a hands-on activity, we start with the experience BEFORE the explanation.

We might do this by sharing stories of explorers in history where we can put ourselves in their shoes. Or we might do this by engaging in a science experiment and observing what happens. Or by planting a garden to learn about farming.

Through ALL of my classroom teaching experiences, I developed a strong belief that building learning around projects and keeping things really hands-on and experiential was the most effective approach to keep children interested, engaged, and active in their learning.

~Art of homeschooling podcast episode #121

From an educational perspective, this is what’s known as Experiential Learning, which is the process of learning through experience. According to the Experiential Learning Institute, it can be more narrowly defined as learning by doing, followed by reflection.

We offer the experience before the explanation to bring the learning alive, activate our children’s imaginations, and make it less abstract.

Finding the Essence of Holistic Homeschooling

I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode focusing on the essence of holistic education. as opposed to the curriculum. When we focus on our guiding principles, we can feel freer to meet our children’s needs from day to day.

In our homeschools, we have the opportunity every day to go deeper into content through conversations, reading related books, and spending time together exploring a topic.

Homeschooling can be and ought to be simple, inspiring, and doable because we want it to be sustainable in the long run.

Simplifying by keeping this essense of holistic education in mind as a guide can create a wonderfully strong foundation for your homeschool journey.

How to Simplify Along the Way

Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been on the homeschooling path of a while, the Homeschool Simplicity Bundle would be a wonderful guide and resource for you to have in your homeschool library. And the new edition of this guide, Homeschool Simplicity, includes a video training perfect for busy homeschooling parents. Bring simplicity and ease to your homeschool and learn how to craft a homeschool life that you love.

References & Links

Rate & Review the Podcast

If the Art of Homeschooling Podcast has inspired you, I’d LOVE it if you could rate and review the podcast on your favorite podcast player! Reviews can be left on Apple Podcasts (iTunes), Podcast Addict, or Stitcher.

Or simply pop on over to and choose where you want to leave your review.

And if you want to show your appreciation for the Art of Homeschooling Podcast, you can buy me a coffee!

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